Fun Times with Heart Disease....


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Messages 1 - 45 of total 45 in this topic

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 15, 2013 - 08:50pm PT
Yup, 31 years old and my ticker is clogged up. Going in soon for an angiogram. Will get a stent put in or bypass surgery depending on the severity of the blockage, which they won't know until the angiogram.


Trad climber
Fresno CA
Aug 15, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
Where and when are they doing the procedure, Paul?

Bob D'A

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Aug 15, 2013 - 08:57pm PT
Paul...good will be fine and feel better...had open heart surgery two years me if you ever want to talk.

Trad climber
Western America
Aug 15, 2013 - 09:06pm PT
2nd opinions never hurt.

Dr Apocalypto is available.;]
photo not found
Missing photo ID#316161


Big Wall climber
Richmond, CA
Aug 15, 2013 - 09:19pm PT
A lot of coronary diseases are also inflammatory in nature. Getting unclogged is great, but make sure that you don't also have an ongoing inflammatory disease that is contributing to your problems. Our own immune systems can sometimes act like real pr@cks.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Aug 15, 2013 - 09:31pm PT
Obviously have them check in to genetic risk factors etc, especially if you have children.
31 is way too young, especially if your not a tobacco smoker!!!!!
You'll do great with your fitness level.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Aug 15, 2013 - 09:33pm PT
Unbelievable, sorry to hear this.

Do they think it was genetic? Did this hit you completely out of the blue? Had you been watching your cholesterol numbers, CRP, diet and such?

Around here you're the epitome of good cheer, positive spirit and fitness, really sorry you have to deal with this.

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Aug 15, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
Sorry to hear this news, Paul...I'll be praying for ya. Keep us posted...and when you're ready for some recuperating, come on back over....your room is available!

: )
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Aug 15, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
FYI, my father had a blockage so they did the stent thing first.
2 yrs. later he had a heart attack caused by a blockage at the stent.
Then they finally did it right and did the bypass and he never had issues
after that.
Good luck Paul,

Gym climber
Aug 15, 2013 - 09:51pm PT
Just saw this article, so I thought I'd post a link:

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Aug 15, 2013 - 10:01pm PT
A good friend of ours is the head of nursing at the Fresno Heart Hospital. My wife is also a nurse (though not in that center). Both have relatively low opinions of stents, in part because they make it harder when the bypass surgery becomes necessary. I don't know one way or the other on angioplasty, but in addition to Bob D'A, my former law partner (and former Sacherer climbing partner) Wally Upton also had excellent results with bypass surgery.

In fact, my understanding is that the bypass specialty hospitals (such as Dr. Gaddiani's in Redwood City) can now do a bypass without cracking the chest).

Again, Paul, please let me know where and when, and if there's anything I can do for you.

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Aug 15, 2013 - 10:06pm PT
You'll be fine.
Take Heart.

//Now I know I got to play my hand
What the winner don't know, a gambler understands//

Don't gamble with heart problems (like I'm the one to talk!).


Aug 15, 2013 - 10:17pm PT
Paul, Don't despair. I went through something similar when I was 34: a 99% blocked LAD artery and a lights out MI in the ER. Devastated at the time, I recovered and did some of my best climbing after recovery, walls and altitude. 4 stents later, I'm still at it. Don't worry, brother, you aint done yet. Contact me if you need some perspective.

Social climber
Aug 15, 2013 - 10:26pm PT
hey there say, paul... oh my... you are still 'a baby' :O well, you
know what i mean (to us older folks) ...

i will sure keep praying for you, and for you to get
through this no only well, but in flying-colors ...
you are still young and strong and may god's grace and that
youth, help you...

god bless...
Bob D'A

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Aug 15, 2013 - 10:31pm PT
Paul...six weeks after open heart I was mountain biking and climbing. After 12-13 weeks I was climbing 5.12...I'm almost twice your age. You are going to do great. Just do what they tell you and start exercise/walking right away.

Trad climber
East Coast US
Aug 15, 2013 - 10:59pm PT
I've been on Statins since I was in my 20's (I'm now 50). My family has a history of genetically unable to process cholesterol. Statins are a miracle drug. My grandfather had a quintuple bypass in 1980 at the age of 68 and started a Statin regimen right after the surgery. He lived on his own until age 96, when he died. My dad is also on a Statin regimen, plays golf almost everyday, and turns 78 tomorrow.

Stay strong, do the right thing regarding the meds (they work), and you will come out of this better. Good luck.

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Aug 15, 2013 - 11:05pm PT

Best of JuJu your way Paul !

Johnny Ray
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Aug 15, 2013 - 11:40pm PT
Dang, Paul, take care and good luck.

Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
Aug 15, 2013 - 11:50pm PT
Good luck to you Paul.
It's a good thing that you found out and can treat it.
You are strong and will do fine.
Sending all the best energy your way.

Trad climber
Hustle City
Aug 16, 2013 - 12:05am PT
Good luck!

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Aug 16, 2013 - 12:06am PT
So sorry to hear this, good luck Paul. If I was a religious guy I would pray for you.

Ice climber
Aug 16, 2013 - 12:44am PT
Good luck. Just curious, is this hereditary?

Social climber
North Vancouver BC
Aug 16, 2013 - 12:45am PT
A few words of advice on statins "Some scientists believe the statins are overused. Their use has expanded into areas where they provide lesser benefit, and lesser evidence of benefit. The lower the risk of cardiovascular events, the lower the ratio is of benefits to costs. The US market for statins nearly tripled when the National Cholesterol Education Program revised its guidelines to recommend statins as primary prevention. Although the panel cited randomized trials to support statin therapy for primary prevention of occlusive cardiovascular disease, a report in Lancet notes, "not one of the studies provides such evidence." [16] Journalists have questioned the interests of the doctors who made such recommendations, as eight of the 9 doctors on the panel were discovered to have been paid by statin manufacturers]
A smaller group of scientists, The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics, question the lipid hypothesis and argue that elevated cholesterol has not been adequately shown to cause heart disease. These organizations maintain that statins are not as beneficial or safe as suggested.[18] The beneficial effects of statins are suggested to be due to their working as vitamin D analogues.[19]" Wikipedia

I have a serious heart arrhythmia and was prescribed Lipitor, the most obvious side effects for me where compromised brain function and the ability to verbalize thoughts.
I now take 2000 mg Niacin daily and my good cholesterol HDL levels outweigh the LDL levels.

There is a definite financial incentive for drug companies to have you use high cost, low value prescription drugs.

Coupons are distributed by drug manufacturers to encourage insured consumers to choose expensive branded drugs over generics or other more affordable brands in the same therapeutic class. There is growing concern about their potential cost: Based on current trends, copay coupons will increase prescription drug costs by $32 billion over the next ten years for employers, unions and other plan sponsors.

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Aug 16, 2013 - 01:08am PT
Genetics in action, but don't despair. Our friend had a situation similar to yours - went in for routine checkup and they wouldn't let him out of the hospital. had quintuple bypass surgery the next day. got on statins immediately afterwards (like his Dad), and has been great for the past 10 years.

Because of his family history he was expecting to have to go on them "someday" but the young age and the advanced state of the blockage really took him by surprise. Take care of yourself and all the best.

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 16, 2013 - 01:20am PT
My family has the worst history....moms side: her mom and 3 Bros died from heart attack, one at 32. My mom has had 2 open heart surgeries. Dad's side: both his parents died from it and his bro had a slight one, but caught early and survived. Both my sister and I have high cholesterol and are on meds.

I knew it was just a matter of time, but not 20 years early.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 16, 2013 - 02:59am PT
Wow, that is a tough family history! Please do stay on top of it all.

Trad climber
Aug 16, 2013 - 07:49am PT

At 59, I had a stent put in my LAD last November. Doc said there was 95-99% blockage. Funny thing was I felt great when running/hiking/climbing but had chest discomfort when sitting at my desk. Had good BP and low heart rate. Cholesterol had risen in the last two years...

Two months after the stent I was hiking/caving/snorkeling in Belize. Started climbing again after another month. Took it easy for a while - only TR because I was afraid to lead while on the platelet inhibitor. I'm still taking that (until November) but started leading easier well-protected routes that I don't expect to fall on. Not pushing it yet.

Hope things work out for you. Either stent or bypass, take your meds, do the cardiac rehab if you can, take it easy for a while. You'll be fine.
Bill Mc Kirgan

Trad climber
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Aug 16, 2013 - 08:52am PT
Good luck Paul!

I'll be keeping you in my prayers for comfort and healing. I also pray for the attentiveness of the team that will be taking care of you.


Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Aug 16, 2013 - 09:04am PT
Good luck Paul.

I'm sure you'll be pulling down in no time.

Bob D'A

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Aug 16, 2013 - 09:59am PT
Paul...same for me..My dad had his first heart attack at too. My uncle and grandfather both died from them.

Science is amazing and it is a great time to be alive. The only medicine I take is a aspirin a day.

This may sound weird but after finding out what needed to be done, I kinda embraced it and it turned out pretty well for me.

Again feel free to contact me if you ever want to talk.
Alan Rubin

Aug 16, 2013 - 11:29am PT
I had a stent put in almost exactly two years ago, my situation complicated by other, apparantly unrelated, medical issues. I got back to climbing--easy top-ropes--within a few weeks, though the other issues definitely slowed down my recovery. But for the past year, especially since I got off the plavix, I've been feeling quite good for an old guy, and climbing as much as ever at my own modest grade-level. I'm still using crestor, metroprolol,fish oil, and aspirin but don't notice any side effects, and my cholesterol levels are much better than they were before my "episode" (wasn't quite a heart attack, so the doctors told me). I'm sure that you'll feel significantly better after your surgery. Best of luck to you and a speedy recovery.

Bob D'A if we both make it to the Gunks reunion (if there is indeed one) in Oct. you and I, maybe Dr. Robinson (and others) should have a "coronary veterans" team climb of some appropriate route--Coronary, maybe!!!!

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 16, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
Scheduled for an angiogram at the VA hospital in Palo Alto this coming Wednesday the 21st. (I don't have private insurance)

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 21, 2013 - 11:39pm PT
Had the angiogram today. They found multiple constructions in all 3 arteries of the heart. Doc said that they are going to do multiple stents over several visits. Ugh

Ice climber
Aug 22, 2013 - 12:15am PT
Sorry to hear that Paul. Best of luck. my grandfather, and two uncles died from heart attacks.

Aug 22, 2013 - 12:29am PT
Stable angina caused me to go to a stent man. Surprise, surprise he put in 5 stents. No difference at all. My sister-in-law was on rat poison. Her brain blew up, as did that of a neighbor. I was counseled to go on beta blocker and aspirin. Better, but don't use either. I just take care never to push.

Oh, when it gets over 100F I can still do the same amount of work once the heart gets tuned in. However, I have learned never to be more than 10 feet from a gallon of ice water. Ice water is where it's at. (non-medical opinion)

With robots they apparently don't crack the sternum. Just thinking about that is enough to cause one to blanch.

Social climber
Aug 22, 2013 - 12:40am PT
Five years to the day since my MI.

Not CAD related......but related to being a woman-of-a-certain-age .

Hope the stenting goes well....

Social climber
Aug 22, 2013 - 07:41am PT
This is pretty much my nightmare, wondering when something like this will happen to me. When I was about 5 I found out that I inherited a genetic defect from my Mother that causes high cholesterol. Heart disease killed her father in his early 40s when she was 12 or so, and it killed many of his brothers. I am 33 now and only have cholesterol in the "normal" range thanks to a very high does of Lipitor.

Your are lucky that it is something they caught before the worst happened.

A couple years ago, when she was in her early 60s, my Mother died from a STEMI (ST segment myocardial infarction), which had been misdiagnosed. She had warning signs for several weeks (unstable angina) which was misdiagnosed as muscular-skeletal issues relating to arthritis and a recent car accident. She had been to the ER several times and had been to her doctors office a few times over these few weeks. Almost unbelievable it was not properly diagnosed given her family history. On her first visit she told them she thought she was having a heart attack (she wasn't, but she was very close to having one).

After dealing with this severe pain on and off for several weeks she woke up with severe pain in her neck, back, and jaw and went by ambulance to the ER. On the day of her heart attack it was something like 4 hours in the ER before they finally diagnosed it and took her by life flight to a hospital in Portland Maine (my parents live in rural Maine). By the time she made it to the hospital it had been a long time since the event started and a lot of damage was done. They attempted to put in a stent but ended up having to do a triple bypass. She passed away the next day. Medical experts have told us that if they had properly diagnosed the heart attack that day in the ER she would have survived, and that the ER PA and supervising physician basically violated the standards of care by not ruling out a heart attack immediately given her symptoms.

While this was happening I was attending a conference in Amsterdam. I was already planning to travel home the next day but changed my flight to take the first flight of the day to Boston so I could take a bus up to Portland, which seemed to be the fastest way to get form Amsterdam to Portland. By the time I got through immigration, got my baggage, and got through customs I was very close to missing the next bus. I literally stepped out of the terminal and the bus to Portland stopped at the curb right in front of me. My mother died an hour or two after I made it to the hospital (we decided to remove life support when it was apparent that she wasn't going to recover).

I often think about the last time I saw her and how I don't want my son (now 5) to have to see me like that.

Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Aug 22, 2013 - 08:37am PT
Paul, Thankfully you caught it before any damage was done by a heart attack. We get dealt gene cards and you're playing yours right. BTW my wife works in cardiac surgery ICU with access to both surgeons and cardiologists so if you have questions please send me a PM.....the very best to you.

Ice climber
Aug 22, 2013 - 10:38am PT
Beaner, that had to be hell.
Sorry to hear about your experience.
Any legal action?
Johnny K.

Aug 22, 2013 - 10:41am PT
Paul I hope the best for you to have a healthy future. Preventive check ups and regularly staying on top of everything with your Dr's is the best thing you can do,glad you caught everything very soon.

Social climber
Aug 22, 2013 - 01:05pm PT

Based on the medical records there is no evidence that standard of care was not met until her last ER visit. Medical records are considered the absolute truth, so even though she many have complained about something like jaw pain if it wasn't in the records it didn't happen. Also there was the confounding issue of the recent car accident (hit by texting driver). For the last day in the ER, based on the medical records, it is pretty clear that they were negligent and it likely resulted in her death.

My father sued the hospital on behalf of my Mother's estate. In Maine, the maximum award for a case like this is a little over half a million dollars. Much larger awards can be made for pain and suffering or loss of income, but neither of those really apply in this case. They can only award money for pain and suffering from when they can prove the negligence began -- in this case it would be pain and suffering covering a period of hours. And loss of income doesn't apply because my parents were both teachers and elected to take a slightly reduced pension payment that would remain unchanged if one of them passed away.

In Maine these medical malpractice cases need to go before a panel before they are allowed to go to trial. The panel consists of a panel chair, a former lawyer who does this as a full time job and is quite knowledgeable about medical malpractice. There is a medical expert, in this case an ER doctor because the case is against the ER department, and a lawyer. I believe the doctor and lawyer are required to do this as part of their obligations for state licensing. We won the panel hearing 3-0, which means the hospital's insurance company will probably settle before the trial starts, but it hasn't happened yet. So out of a 500-600K settlement the lawyer will take a fixed percentage plus expenses (one expert witness from Boston and one from Cleveland had to be paid to review the records and travel to Maine to testify at the panel, our lawyer had to meet with them prior to the hearing to take their depositions, etc). My father will be lucky to end up with $300K, but it really isn't about the money -- it is about acknowledging responsibility, reviewing procedures, and making sure it doesn't happen again. BTW, the hospital conducted an internal review and the physicians assistant (who was responsible for most of her treatment at the ER) is no longer employed at that hospital (I do not think this is a coincidence) and the supervising physician is retiring (may be a coincidence).

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Aug 22, 2013 - 01:20pm PT
Paul, all the best of luck to you.


Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 23, 2013 - 12:08am PT
Got out of OP around 2:30 today. One artery was 70% blocked and the other was 90% blocked. The main artery, the LAD looked good. they through 2 stents in and did some ballooning. Turns out I had one if the top cardiac intervention docs in the world from Stanford, Dr. Fearon. Moreover, he only comes to the VA 1 day a week...thursdays. WIN!

I'll be outta here tomorrow.

thanks for all the warm thoughts!

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:50am PT
That's fantastic news Paul. Glad to hear it!

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Aug 23, 2013 - 11:18am PT
Good luck paul- i just recently joined 'cardiac club" at 53.. 3 weeks in hospital... maybe needing a LVAD device (Ihope not) and bilateral pacemaker, but not now, the ticker is just too weak

Light excersise,walking and meds for a couple months, I have already gotten some fuction back
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